Home sales fall by 5.4% last month, prices rise only because mix of homes being sold changed

When is the housing market finally going to recovery? With interest rates at record lows, one would have thought that it would be booming right now. From the Associated Press:
Americans bought fewer homes in June than May, indicating the weak economy could make a modest housing recovery choppy.
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales of previously occupied homes fell 5.4 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.37 million homes. That's the fewest since October.
Sales are up 4.5 percent from a year ago, evidence that the market is still recovering. But the annual sales pace is below the 6 million that economists consider healthy. The June drop in completed re-sales contrasts with more encouraging data that show gains in new residential construction, higher builder confidence and more signed contracts to buy previously owned homes.
"It is only one month and the rest of the housing indicators have all continued to show improvement," said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets. "Let's hope this June decline is a blip."
The number of first-time buyers, critical to a housing recovery, made up just 32 percent of sales. That's down from 34 percent in May. In healthy markets, first-time buyers make up more than 40 percent of the market.
The median home price rose 5 percent to $189,400. That's mostly because sales of more expensive homes rose, while sales of cheaper homes fell, the Realtors group said. . . .

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